Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 May 2022) . . Page.. 1105 ..
workers to find their appropriate and fair manner of relationship in this new normal, I think a committee inquiry is the best way to go about that.
I do want to point out something that I have been hearing from business representatives, and that is to be cautious about laying new legislative schemes, new arrangements, new compliance obligations on the business community until they have really had an opportunity to be fully re-established. We are still in a period of partial restrictions. Obviously, we all look forward to when we are back in our new normal of freedom of movement and association, taking common-sense measures to deal with any COVID-related outbreak. I have been hearing that the business community would like some time and some fresh air to get adjusted to the impact of this last two-year period.
In some cases those businesses are no longer operating, and that is a great sadness for the Canberra Liberals. Others have found new ways to do their business, found new ways to deal with where their employees and their contractors and their casuals work and interact with the service they deliver as individuals. Working from home is an obvious example of that, particularly for professional services and the public service.
I want to encourage the members on this floor to support the amendment, to urge an inquiry by the committee, in the wording as stated in the amendment. I speak in support of my amendment and encourage others to support it as well. Thank you.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (3.09): I am pleased to make a few remarks in support of my colleague Mr Cain’s amendment to refer this motion to the Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality.
In his motion, Labor backbencher Mr Pettersson calls on the government—his government—to “continue to materially improve the working conditions of ACT residents”. He wants the government to examine providing sick and carer’s pay for casual and contract workers. Mr Pettersson adds that this work should be done in consultation with relevant trade unions and other stakeholders. There is no mention of small business! What about consulting small businesses, who are the ones employing our casual and contract workers? But we should not be surprised that there is no mention of small business, that there is no mention of consulting small businesses and understanding the impact that it may have on them, because this Labor-Greens government has never prioritised small business.
What a turn-up it would be if a Labor MLA were to introduce a motion to continue to materially improve the conditions of ACT small businesses. This Labor-Greens government never seems to get that supporting small business and helping them to succeed is also good for their staff, because employers are in a better position to retain and employ more workers. A committee is the appropriate place for this motion to be thoroughly examined, with a particular focus on how this change would impact small business.
Small businesses do not get a guernsey today from Mr Pettersson, but, as I said, that comes as no surprise. The Canberra Liberals will continue to stand up for small